I know I'm not the only one who suffers at the expense of keeping a white horse clean.
Even if your horse only has a few white markings, it's as if dirt is drawn to them. Right??
I have a white horse - a very white horse. Not "very" as in a very clean white horse - oh, no. I mean "very" as in, he's completely white. If you peeked out into the pasture right now and saw him (his name is Seamus), you'd think I was lying. He's filthy. Maybe a little neglected these days, certainly in want of a bath...nothing to write home about, that's for sure.
But there was a time, not so long ago, when I kept him sparkling white. I would take him to shows and people would say, "how do you get him so white?" for there was not a pee stain on his legs, not a bit of mud in his snowy tail, not a smudge upon his white coat.
And you know what? It really wasn't all that hard keeping him that clean - and he was turned out 24/7, and almost never blanketed.
Here are my secrets.
1. Be consistent. The #1 thing I did to keep him clean was to clean him consistently. A little elbow grease goes a long way! I'd rinse him off after every single ride in the summertime, and once a week or so I'd wash him. It didn't matter if he went right out to the pasture and rolled after his bath. Dirt doesn't stain - but pee and sweat do!
2. Invest in some Quiksilver shampoo and a tail bag. As weather permitted, I'd wash him every week or so with regular shampoo. But every now and then - or, if I noticed a green spot that couldn't be curried out - I'd give him a deep cleaning with some Quiksilver. The trick is to really, really scrub that shampoo in, but don't let it sit for too long or you'll end up with purple stains!
Also, keep white tails in a tail bag. Just be sure to take the tail out and brush it every few days or so. I only used a tail bag in the winter, when the weather kept me from bathing him as often (also, I liked him to have his tail out to swat flies in the summer).
3. Keep a nice, clean place for your horse to lie down. Seamus had access to a stall, so I kept it bedded with clean shavings. Sometimes, he even chose to lie down in it (other times he chose to ignore my efforts and lounge on his side in the mud, but I like to think the shavings helped a bit!).
4. Make use of grooming products! I always had Show Sheen on hand. A few squirts can help repel dirt (and keep tangles out of manes and tails, which is important if you're brushing them often - which you should be doing if they're white and you're trying to keep stains away). Also, a little trick for the show ring...baby powder makes white socks pop! Just sprinkle some in your hands and rub it into your horse's white socks (do this before polishing hooves so you don't end up with a goopy mess should it drift down onto hooves - if you're not polishing hooves, you can easily dust off the excess).
And, that's it! The real "secret" is just hard work - and isn't that the "secret" to everything about horses?
Good luck keeping your white horses white! I'd love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments.